Unemployment and the millennials

The New York Times reprints some unemployment figures:

For young adults, the prospects in the workplace, even for the college-educated, have rarely been so bleak. Apart from the 14 percent who are unemployed and seeking work…23 percent are not even seeking a job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The total, 37 percent, is the highest in more than three decades and a rate reminiscent of the 1930s.

…and fleshes out those figures with the anecdote of Scott Nicholson, a 2008 college graduate who is still looking for work:

The daily routine seldom varied. Mr. Nicholson, 24, a graduate of Colgate University, winner of a dean’s award for academic excellence, spent his mornings searching corporate Web sites for suitable job openings. When he found one, he mailed off a résumé and cover letter — four or five a week, week after week.

I think what makes this story so interesting is its intergenerational comparison of Scott, his father, and his grandfather and the opportunities available to each.  Louis Uchitelle makes a strong case that fundamental opportunities have shifted, that the millennials’ equivalent of “go West, young man” means leaving the U.S.–and its moribund economy–entirely.

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